When I write, there is an early point where it all flows nicely, followed by a stage of despair and struggle as I juggle too many ideas while thinking that I may also be short of material (this is particularly acute when dealing with archival material and lost films). Then there is the problem of reading back what I've written and wondering if it makes any sense. I don't think I'm alone in feeling stuck, useless and a failure when I hit this mark--and we all do. I think it's why people get blocked and give up.
Fortunately, today I just moved through this impasse that's been afflicting me this last couple of days. With the voice of reason (my mother?) in my head, I just moved through it slowly. It was like swimming in molasses--painfully slow and at times seemingly an exercise in futility. But the pages grew, even if in forms I wasn't entirely sure would work.
Reading my work back today some doesn't make sense, some parts need to be moved, cut, condensed, clarified, but there is, finally, a shape emerging. The next part won't all be fun but some of it will and now I am energized to finish this on Friday if possible. I even think there is not just a paper there (as well as a conference paper--or maybe two papers) but some material that is central to the book and its overall argument.